Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative Needs Assessment

This needs assessment aims to ascertain the degree to which the youth homelessness sector in Canada understands and supports the need for youth homelessness prevention. This includes a deep analysis of five prevention interventions we have tested and refined over the past six or so years: Housing First for Youth, Family and Natural Supports, Reconnect, Duty to Assist and Upstream.

The assessment found that:

  • Prevention is broadly recognized within the sector as being necessary for ending youth homelessness.
  • Many organizations have a good understanding of what prevention entails and know about the prevention interventions in this report. Nevertheless, across the board, service providers suggested that they need more information on prevention.
  • However, information alone will not get us where we need to be. Perhaps the strongest message to come from this needs assessment is the paramount need for enhanced organizational capacity building. Moving towards prevention is an exercise in transformation that can be challenging. Service providers identified that in order to implement preventive interventions, they needed training and technical support, but many do not know where to access this. Providers also identified the need for targeted funding to support youth homelessness prevention.
  • Finally, service providers felt that they needed much more support to get their communities on board with homelessness prevention. This corresponds with what we have learned from the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness regarding the fact that many community entities do not prioritize youth homelessness or, in particular, prevention.
  • None of this will just happen organically. Higher orders of government need to support the work of capacity building and make investments in effective preventive interventions.

From the Research Matters Blog

Youth Homelessness Prevention Needs Assessment — Results Released
by Stephen Gaetz and C.L. Michel, Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

Publication Date: